Ranganthittu‌ Re-opens
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Ranganthittu‌ Re-opens

July 7, 2021

First‌ ‌day‌ ‌collection‌ ‌Rs.‌ ‌26,000

  • ‌2020:‌ ‌Sanctuary‌ ‌closed‌ ‌for‌ ‌‌86‌ ‌‌days
  • 2021:‌ ‌Visitors‌ ‌banned‌ ‌for‌ ‌‌68‌‌ ‌days

By M.T. Yogesh Kumar

Mysore/Mysuru: Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, the largest bird sanctuary in Karnataka, on the banks of River Cauvery in Mandya, has re-opened after lockdown to enthral visitors again. The Sanctuary opened yesterday after a gap of 68 days and it had been closed since April 28. 

The Forest Department, the custodian of the Bird Sanctuary, declared the bird paradise open and has taken all precautionary measures to keep the winged beauties and also visitors safe. 

On the first day yesterday, the Sanctuary had 184 tourists including 32 children, reporting a gate collection of Rs. 26,000. For the first day, it is a pretty good show, said Department officers. 

Last year when the first wave struck, the Sanctuary was closed for 86 days, the longest closure period recorded in the history of the place. It was shut on Mar. 14, 10 days before the nationwide lockdown due to the threat of Bird Flu as some birds had died inside Mysuru city and the Forest Department had taken a decision to close the tourist spot as a precautionary measure. Finally, it opened on June 7. 

Closed for two consecutive years

The Sanctuary is a combination of several mini-islets in the Cauvery near Srirangapatna which had not been closed for this long for two consecutive years since it got the status of Bird Sanctuary in 1940. 

This year, though the unlock was announced by the State Government on June 6, the Mandya District Administration preferred to wait for a day to issue the opening order. 

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“We have taken all precautionary measures to prevent a possible spread of COVID-19 at the Bird Sanctuary. Every visitor will be asked to strictly wear a mask and maintain social distance while entering the Sanctuary. Disinfectants will be provided to all visitors and we have taken measures to prevent crowding,” said Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF-Territorial) Dr. K.C. Prashanth Kumar.

While entry fee for an adult (Indian) is Rs. 70, children are charged Rs. 35 each. Adults have to pay Rs. 100 per head for a boat ride, children are charged Rs. 50 each. Foreigners are charged Rs. 500 each for entry and Rs. 500  each for boating (children Rs. 250).

There are 21 boats at Ranganathittu and the boats are taken for a ride only after the passengers are made to wear life-jackets. All are rowing boats and as the birds are sensitive, mechanised boats are not used. 

Forest staff greeting the students who visited Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary on the first day of re-opening yesterday.

Best-in-class in India

The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is one of the most popular tourist spots in the State and is rated as among the best in the country. The Sanctuary, spread over 67 hectres with 25 islands, attracts thousands of migratory birds (more than 200 species), including the rarest of the rare birds every year. The Sanctuary has a sizable population of 12,000 spot-billed pelicans.

Of the islands, some of the familiar ones are Openbill Island, Large Cormorant Island, Kaadu Hunasemara Island, Raintree Island, Large Egret and Little Egret Island, Stone Bill Island, Stone Flower Island, Neeranji Island, Hatthi Mara Island, Crocodile Island, Puttayyanakoppalu Island, Purple Heron Island, the island that is located at the middle of the river and the Bamboo Island.

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Currently, Ranganathittu has over 9,500 birds. A majority of open-billed storks, spoonbills, spot-billed pelicans and painted storks have left the Sanctuary with hatchlings.

The islets of Ranganathittu were formed during the construction of a barrier across the Cauvery between 1645 and 1648, by the then Mysore ruler Kantirava Narasaraja Wadiyar. In all, the Sanctuary extends up to 67 hectres and an information centre, park, woodlot, walking path and pergolas have been created in 16-acre land. 

The Bird Sanctuary is home to many native and migratory birds, and is considered a safe place for river otters, marsh crocodiles (muggers) and several species of fish. There are more than 200 crocodiles that bask on the rocks after remaining inside water for most of the time.

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